The Oshkosh TerraMax unmanned truck hasn't quite rocked the DARPA Grand Challenge in the past, so the company has a lot to prove this year in Victorville, California, where the grand spectacle of mecha robots takes place later this month (we'll be there). That means the company has a lot to prove, considering it wants a piece of the US defense budget atop a congressional mandate stating one in three ground combat vehicles must be self-driving by 2015. The maker of airport firetrucks and other large industrial vehicles has invested tens of millions of dollars in the project, and says the TerraMax is competitive this year, with lasers, high-tech camera gear and global positioning systems to guide it through the punishing desert course without wandering off into a cactus-filled netherland. We'll see. [Yahoo!]
Terramax is somebody's idea of an off-road bye. It's one of the few vehicles that can blatantly disregard 90% of the off- (and on!) road obstacles that would've tripped up the other competitors. With that kind of prowess, you can slump a little in the rigorousness of your obstacle-avoidance software.